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#Drought News (November 25, 2022): Early season #snowpack remained mostly favorable west of the Continental Divide

Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of drought data from the US Drought Monitor website.

Click the link to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here is an excerpt:

Summary of this week’s drought

With few exceptions, cold, dry weather prevailed almost everywhere in the country. Notably, snow gusts developed downwind of the Great Lakes in mid-November, resulting in localized totals of 2 to 6 feet or more. In addition, precipitation fell in parts of the South, East, and Midwest, primarily at the beginning of the drought monitoring period, although most liquid equivalents were below 2 inches. Snow largely covered the Midwest and inner Northeast, particularly on November 15 and 16, although amounts were mostly light to moderate. Meanwhile, deep snow from an earlier storm remained on the ground across much of Montana and North Dakota. As the period progressed, rain continued in the western Gulf Coast region. Otherwise, negligible precipitation fell in the western half of the country. On the plains, the combination of cold weather and lack of soil moisture resulted in significant stress on rangeland, pasture, and winter wheat. Weekly temperatures have averaged at least 10°F below normal nationwide except in the desert southwest and along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts…

High levels

Snow and ice remained on the ground in parts of Montana and the Dakotas after last week’s storm. In Bismarck, North Dakota, where snow depth peaked at 17 inches on November 11, nine inches remained on the ground 10 days later. The freeze and frozen precipitation provided beneficial moisture for pastures, pastures, and winter crops. Still, drought concerns remained, particularly in drier areas in the southern half of the region. On November 20, the US Department of Agriculture noted that topsoil moisture ranged from 63% very short to short in North Dakota to 87% in Nebraska. On the same day, at least 40% of winter wheat in Colorado (52%), Kansas (40%) and Nebraska (40%) was classified as being in very poor to poor condition. Although any changes in the drought representation were relatively minor, worsening conditions were noted in some areas. Drought stress on vegetation was exacerbated by very cold weather, resulting in multiple record lows. In Kansas, for example, record-breaking lows on Nov. 19 fell to 8°F in Garden City and 11°F in Medicine Lodge…

Colorado Drought Monitor one week chart change through November 22, 2022.


Like most of the country, the west experienced a full week of cold, dry weather, resulting in minimal changes in drought depiction. Fog, air stagnation and low temperatures plagued the Northwest. Daily record lows for November 17 included -16°F in Butte, Montana and -3°F in Burns, Oregon. On November 18 and 19, Big Piney, Wyoming recorded consecutive daily record lows of -15°F. Other northwestern locations that reported two daily record lows on November 18-19 were Eugene, Oregon (21 and 18°F); Olympia, Washington (17 and 18 degrees F); and Montana’s Bozeman Airport (-14 and -16 °F). On the 18th, lows plummeted to -22°F at Butte, Montana, and -21°F at Lake Yellowstone, Wyoming. Snowpack early in the season remained mostly favorable west of the continental divide, but a return to stormy weather will soon be required to sustain the promising start to the water year that began October 1…


Significant rain fell in parts of the western Gulf Coast region, but most of the rest of the south experienced cold, dry weather. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Oklahoma and Texas tied at the top of the region on November 20 with topsoil moisture rated as very short-to-short at 67%. On the same day in Texas, very poor to poor ratings were observed for 58% of pastures and pastures; 52% of oats; and 49% of winter wheat. Similarly, in Oklahoma, 41% of winter wheat and 75% of rangeland and pastures were rated very poor to poor. Minor changes were generally introduced amid the cold, dry regime, except where heavy rain fell near the Gulf Coast…

looking ahead

Milder weather will replace previously cold conditions across much of the country. On November 24th, Thanksgiving Day, a storm system will form in the southern United States. By the end of the week, parts of the southern Plains should receive much-needed rainfall, including possibly wet snow. Farther east, 5-day precipitation totals could be 2 to 4 inches or more from the southeastern plains to southern Appalachia. Late week rain (1 to 2 inches locally) may also spread to parts of the East and lower Midwest, including the Ohio Valley. Meanwhile, intermittent rainfall will spread inland from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rocky Mountains. Much of the rest of the country, including an area stretching from California to the northwest half of the Plains and upper Midwest, will receive little or no rainfall over the next 5 days.

The 6- to 10-day NWS outlook for November 28 through December 2 calls for the likelihood of below normal temperatures in the northern plains and much of the west, while warmer than normal weather will prevail east of a line from the south Rockies to Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal precipitation across much of the southern and eastern US should contrast with wet-than-average conditions from the Pacific Coast to the northern half of the Plains, Midwest, and MidSouth.

US drought monitor one week chart change through November 22, 2022.

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